Robot Soldiers

  Words by Warrior Actual.

With the continuing reduction in the physical number of Armed Forces members, leaders are looking at the possibility of robot replacements.  Military numbers continue to decrease because of budget cuts. By the year 2019 the Army is expected to go from approximately 500,000 active-duty soldiers to around 420,000 active-duty soldiers if the sequester remain in effect.

Even though budget cuts for the military are happening across the board including a decrease of funds by one third to research and development for unmanned systems, the inventory of such systems is anticipated to increase beginning in 2016. The goal is to make up for the loss of physical soldiers and create a safer environment for the remaining military members to perform their job.  The need for unmanned ground systems is great even though the budget is geared more towards unmanned air systems currently funded at $4.1 billion and $330 million for maritime systems leaving only $13 million for ground systems.

These ground systems will be developed to perform a number of tasks including those such as carrying supplies alongside troops, defusing bombs and securing pathways ahead of advancing troops.  One company, the IRobot Corporation is already supplying infantry troops and explosive ordnance disposal technicians with unmanned ground robot systems including the PackBot, The SUGV and the FirstLook.  Hopefully these ground units will provide necessary security and protection that the active-duty soldiers rely on, while at the same time performing dangerous and deadly tasks previously performed by soldiers preventing unnecessary loss.

What do you think? Can robots, either guided or self roaming, ever take the place of a human soldier?

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